indieRepublik: So you’ve produced a series of podcasts of artists talking to artists, with the first Artist to Artist podcast out today! – and we’re very happy to be included as media partner. Could you tell us the idea behind it, how you came up with it, and what your plans are for it?
Stefanie Martens: The thought of “I wish there was more exchange and communication between artists about how everyone is dealing with her/his music career” had been simmering for a while. And I am not talking about those huge artists whose biographies we can read or documentaries we can watch on Netflix.
I’m thinking about today’s indie artists (like you and me). Who make a living from the thing they love the most or have found a way to support themselves to be able to keep doing the thing they love the most, which is their own music.
I learned so much about how to survive and deal with this crazy industry
I have been releasing my music for around 10 years now. During this time I learned so much about how to survive and deal with this crazy industry. Sometimes somebody would be asking me for advice on how I approach certain things – and I always enjoyed these conversations. That was when I realized, this is exactly how we artists should do it. We need to talk about our learning and help each other out like that. Cause the music industry is a jungle, there are so many different paths to go down, we can’t try all of them and it’s easy to get lost. By sharing about our journey we might be able to give someone else a little shortcut or find some new inspiration for the next step.
“All my tours got cancelled and I found myself with a lot of extra time on my hands“
In March this year, when all my tours got cancelled and I found myself with a lot of extra time on my hands – all of a sudden I knew I want to start a podcast, just call people up and start having these conversations regularly. I talked with some fellow artists and everyone seemed super excited about the idea and so it unfolded.
Having these conversations has been very inspiring for myself, but I am even more excited about sharing them with others because I believe that it will be valuable for a lot of indie artists out there.
Stefanie Martens: For now, the show is going to run until the end of this year, at least that’s how much content I have recorded at this point. The next month will decide if the show will continue, depending on how it is received. I do hope that it will go on for longer, as I enjoy the process.
indieRepublik: And of course you’re an artist yourself – could you tell us about your music?
Stefanie Martens: Yes, I got two different artists projects, one together with my partner, that’s called Wolf & Moon. We play Dream Folk music and will be releasing our second record this year.
“we’re not so much focussing on the “lottery winner artists” who exploded by a happy coincidence but those who have been building sustainable careers slowly but with persistence. To name a few: Rachel Louise (NL), Matt Holubowski (CA), Daniel Benyamin (DE), Lanta (UK), Robin from De Wolff (NL) and more.“
And also I release my own solo music under the name O-SHiN (it’s a Japanese TV series and means “time for a good cry”). The music is not sad though but quite experimental. It’s my playground where I discover new sound worlds, experiment with Indian or Asian harmonies/instruments, spend a lot of time on sound design and play with field recordings.
In the end, these ingredients melt together into some sort of pop. So far I had only released 1 EP but I finished my debut album during the last 5 month. For sound reference it could be described in the direction of Caribou meets Lykke Li.
indieRepublik: And you’re currently based in Berlin – is Berlin home for you? Where are you from originally, and where – if not Berlin – do you consider home?
I moved to Berlin from the Netherlands which was my home for 10 years. Those were the 10 most formative years for who I have become so I still consider it as “where I am from”. Sweden has also become some kind of home as we have to spend a huge amount of time living there and making music.
But originally I was born in Germany into a Russian-German family.
indieRepublik: Could you give us some names of artist who we’ll be able to hear you talking to in the podcast series?
Stefanie Martens: I have been reaching out to different indie artists from different countries. Even though some have reached platinum or are well established in certain territories I assume they will be new names for most listeners.
And that’s just because the indie music scene is so big, there is a lot more going on than the few names that most people would know. That’s also the beauty of it – as we’re not so much focussing on the “lottery winner artists” who exploded by a happy coincidence but those who have been building sustainable careers slowly but with persistence. To name a few: Rachel Louise (NL), Matt Holubowski (CA), Daniel Benyamin (DE), Lanta (UK), Robin from De Wolff (NL) and more.
indieRepublik: How do you think the Coronavirus crisis, plus its lockdown and the slow releasing from lockdown which we’re currently experiencing, will change the world / change our lifestyles – and change the music industry?
Stefanie Martens: I don’t have the answer to this. It kind of feels like a black hole, no one really knows what will be happening in the live sector and we just live from day to day. It’s tough for the music industry – especially for the live music part of it – but I like to stay positive and believe that even though the live music industry has been and will be suffering a lot – that we will also find new opportunities that haven’t been there before.
indieRepublik: And how do you think the music and events industry should change in order to protect itself from similar crises that may happen in future?
Stefanie Martens: I don’t know, these things are so big, there are to many ins and outs. Who can comprehend the complexity we are dealing with?
I have some friends from France and they get monthly support from the government, which is amazing as it shows that they really want to keep the art and music scene alive. I guess a lot of people dream of a situation like that in Germany but seems like we are very far away from that.
The questions may be is if the event industry can be protected at all? Or if it’s something that we need to deal with? Being an optimist and a musician I like to believe that there would be a solution and I am cheering on those people who dedicate their lives to finding that solution.